The Office of the Attorney General has issued a strong warning about scammers impersonating mortgage companies. The scams are taking several different forms.
In one instance, claiming to be mortgage company employees, the scammers are offering loan modifications. The scammer will ask for your full name, address, date of birth and social security number. They may tell you that you have to immediately provide this information in order to qualify for the loan modification.
In another scam, the scammer will pose as a mortgage company employee and tell you that you need to make a payment. The scammer will ask for a debit card number, money order, or even a gift card for making a payment. Asking for a gift card is a major red flag—no legitimate company will ask you to buy gift cards to make payments.
Other scammers may tell you to stop making payments on your existing mortgage and make “trial” payments to them instead. They generally provide paperwork that looks official and legitimate for you to sign.
The calls, suggested solutions and an occasional sad story about having fallen prey to such a ruse prompted strong discussion on Internet bulletin boards in both Baltimore and Ocean City, Maryland.
The Attorney General’s office recommends that Maryland residents not cooperate. “Do not fall for any of these tactics—they are trying to steal your personal information or money, or both,” according to the AG’s office. “Under no circumstances should you ever stop payment on your mortgage. If you fail to pay your mortgage to the company that legitimately holds your loan, you could default on your loan and possibly even lose your home.”
Relying on Caller Id might not help. Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish legitimate calls from scammers, because of tricks that scammers use to impersonate existing businesses when calling consumers. Using a tactic called “spoofing,” scammers get your caller ID to display the name of a real mortgage company in hopes that you can be fooled into answering the telephone when they call.
If you do receive a phone call that displays the name of your mortgage company, the Maryland Attorney General suggests that you ignore the call and let it go to voicemail. Do not call back the number that was displayed on your phone. Instead, if you want to return the phone call, go to your mortgage company’s website or use a number for the company that you know is legitimate and ask your mortgage company if they have called you and for what reason.
If your mortgage company did not call you, block the suspicious caller’s phone number so that you can not be called from that phone number again, the Maryland Attorney General’s office suggests.
Never give personal information to a caller you do not know or provide personal information on a call you did not initiate because doing so can lead to the identify theft problems later on.
If you need a Baltimore or Ocean City criminal defense attorney, the attorneys at The Law Offices of Thomas J. Maronick can help. The consultation is free.
The Law Office of Thomas J. Maronick is open during the pandemic and will continue to meet your Ocean City and surrounding areas, Baltimore city and Baltimore county legal needs. We can meet with you remotely if you have access to Zoom. You can contact Thomas Maronick on his cellphone at 202.288.0167, the law office at 410.934.3007 or via our website for a free consultation.